Live media literate.

Join Understand Media to get access to our forums, the latest media literacy news, member-only articles, early access to our journals, and much more.

We will never give your info to anyone!

By Brandon W.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat are all designed to make it easier to contact and communicate with our friends in fun and innovative ways. They have opened doors that have made it possible for us to reach people instantly and to view what they are up to at any moment. These capabilities are interesting because although they have opened some metaphorical doors, they have closed some too. With digital interactions taking over, young people can become socially inept in personal interactions because they are out of their comfort zone. It just seems that we are at risk of losing all “unnecessary” human interaction; the glue of the real world.

The internet has created a whole world; a world that allows people to view international news with the click of a mouse. It has made it possible for someone to video-chat with another person on the other side of the globe. The internet’s pros will never be outweighed by the cons, but that doesn’t mean the cons aren’t there. It seems that most people use the internet for disposable information and quick updates. Most of the things people post on social networks are meant to be an update, but nothing more. These posts are not informative or beneficial, and when overloaded with this kind of information we can lose sight of our non-virtual lives.

People have become so engulfed in their smartphones that it is not uncommon to see a group of people standing together, all silently staring at their phones. People are letting the internet replace their life; living vicariously through things they have read or watched. The internet does offer an infinite amount of knowledge but there are things people learn from human interaction that the internet can never teach. Social skills are essential in life, and without them a person can become completely detached or misunderstood. It is not like there is an epidemic of socially awkward kids, but it seems like fewer people seek out social situations. And maybe it is because they feel fulfilled with their social networking, and feel less of a need to actually talk with people.

Communicating used to require a phone call at the very least, but now it doesn’t even require two way conversations. Facebook and Twitter (messaging aside) have created a new kind of one way interaction. People don’t have to have conversations with one another to know everything about each other; they just need to click a mouse. This is both bad and good, because people may see this as a replacement for time spent face to face. But the smart ones of us will use this info to supplement time spent with friends. We can start a conversation about something we saw them post and use that as a launching point for a deeper conversation.

Overall the internet is the greatest advancement mankind has made since the invention of the car. We can do so much more than was ever thought possible and have opened doors for people to access unlimited information. But with global connectivity comes a risk of the loss of human interaction. Getting used to an overload of disposable information can make people think all information and knowledge is just as disposable. With every pro there is a con, we just have to not let this con weigh us down.